Coming fresh into a new season the Three Up, Three Down crew jumps right into the opening series with a lot to talk about. A few extensions were handed out to players such as Elvis Andrus, Justin Verlander, and Paul Goldschmidt and who could forget watching Clayton Kershaw slicing and dicing the San Francisco Giants while taking one deep? Was that better than Yu Darvish’s almost perfect performance against the Houston Astros? Not only are the pitchers doing well, two hitters have made a statement this early in the season as Chris Davis and Michael Morse are smashing the ball, but who would you rather have the rest of the season on your fantasy team? Take a listen and choose wisely!
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“One Out Away” was the theme for Rangers fans Tuesday night as they saw Yu Darvish’s bid for a perfect game ended after he completed 8 2/3 innings. “One Out Away” was all I saw on my twitter feed after the perfect game bid was ended. One Out Away……
If you haven’t seen the hit that ended it all watch it here.
Marwin Gonzalez ruined the night on a cutter that didn’t cut on what was Darvish’s 111th and final pitch of the evening. He had pitched a gem all night striking out 14 Astros and only allowing one ball that was hit well, a Chris Carter fly out that David Murphy caught against the wall in left center.
“One Out Away” is a phrase that not only took center stage on what should have been Darvish’s night but it is also a phrase that has festered in the minds of Rangers fans since October 27, 2011.
Darvish wasn’t a member of the Texas Rangers or even playing for a team in Major League Baseball on that fateful night when the St. Louis Cardinals battled back against the Rangers to win Game 6 in extra innings. I think that game however, is one of the main reasons why they signed him out of Japan that offseason.
The Rangers knew they needed a dominant pitcher who could take the mound deep into games. He is proving more with every start that he can be that player.
From his first outing of his rookie season against the Mariners in which he walked the first batter of the game, Chone Figgins, and gave up five runs over 5 2/3 innings. To his first start of the 2013 season when he was “One Out Away” from a perfect game. This start was also his first start for the Rangers in which he did not walk a batter.
Darvish is the type of pitcher with the pitches he can command that will likely be in line for a few more of these games over his career. Maybe not potential perfect games, but we will all see dominant pitching performances from him for years. There are few players across sports that when they take the field you should stop and watch them and Yu Darvish is one of those players.
Maybe one day the Rangers will find a way to get that last out and as Anthony Andro tweeted, Ian Kinsler couldn’t have reiterated that thought better:
One Out Away…..
-Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)
Unless you live under a rock, have no access to technology and cut off all communication with other humans, you know what happened on Monday Night Football last night. Actually even if you qualify for all three, you might still have heard the screams coming from Green Bay, WI flying through the night air like dementors heading straight for Roger Goodell’s office.
Normally on Three Up, Three Down we stay away from sporting events involving anything but America’s pastime. But last night’s egregious call (or if you prefer, “tragesty” as a radio caller said on a local station this morning – it’s actually a pretty solid made up word!) against the Packers that cost them a game can arguably be dubbed “The Worst Call in NFL History.”
And since the event nearly caused Twitter to cave in on itself, we know it’s noteworthy enough to draft a blog around for our baseball-loving fans. Without further adieu, here is what would happen if Major League Baseball were to hire replacement refs:
May 2nd, 2012 – Dodgers @ Rockies, runner called out
June 27th, 2012 – Indians @ Yankees, ruled a catch
July 27th, 2011 – Pirates @ Braves, called safe
Oct. 14th, 2003 – Marlins @ Cubs, foul ball?
Oct. 20th, 1991 – Braves @ Twins, called out
June 1st, 2012 – Cardinals @ Mets, ruled foul
Oct. 12th, 1997 – Braves @ Marlins VIDEO HERE, strike 3 way outside
Oct. 9th, 1996 – Orioles @ Yankees, ruled a home run, not fan interference
Oct. 10th, 2009 – Twins @ Yankees, called foul
June 2nd, 2010 – Indians @ Tigers, perfect game ruined on last out, called safe
June 11th, 2012 – Royals @ Pirates VIDEO HERE, called a catch, ball dropped
August 6th, 2010 – Phillies @ Marlins, called foul
October 20th, 2009 – Yankees @ Angels, both tagged out, only one ruled out
October 17th, 1999 – Yankees @ Red Sox, ruled a tag-out
Well, that was way too much fun. I highly suggest you give quickmeme.com a visit and play around in your spare time. As you can see, baseball has had its fair share of blown calls in big games too. But we’re living in the moment and the fan fury is directed at Roger Goodell, the replacement ref crew, and everything that remotely looks like a Seahawk.
Comment below and let us know if we missed a call – heck, send us a meme of it! And just for fun, vote in the poll:
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
It’s like choosing between Christmas and 4th of July. Or Batman and Spiderman. The most badass actor in The Expendables. Coffee cake or angel food cake. Bieber or Miley!
The point is, both Felix Hernandez’ perfect game, and Matt Cain’s perfect game…were equally, legitimately, epically, incredibly awesome.
But which was more impressive?
Let’s break it down:
Hernandez was untouchable. One would have to be to throw one of only a couple dozen perfect games in the 140-something year history of Major League Baseball.
But striking out 12 batters on 113 pitches (77 for strikes) with a 1-0 lead has to count for something, regardless of how bad the opposing team’s offense is. And that opposing team’s offense just dropped 36 runs on an Angels team widely-hailed for having the best pitching staff in the league. And swept them in four games. On the road.
Hernandez had the 1-0 lead which adds a ton of pressure to the pursuit of perfection. Having a one-run lead will add pressure to the pursuit of anything. Although Felix probably takes the mound every day expecting he will have to toss a no-no just to get a win, the fact that he had to be flawless also garners extra consideration.
The stadiums in which the perfect games were thrown is a wash – AT&T Park and SafeCo Field are two of the best parks for pitchers in all of baseball. We can toss that factor out. But one stat that really stood out to me about Hernandez’ perfect game is that he struck out the side in the 6th and 8th inning, and had 8 of his 12 strikeouts in the last four innings.
That tells me that Felix realized part way through the fifth (he would later say he realized he had a shot at it in the fourth inning) that in order to maintain perfection, retain a shutout and win the ball game, he would have to turn up the after burners and go all Verlander on the Rays.
There is one big negative – the new trend of “Felixing?” Not cool. Not cool at all.
Matt Cain – Wednesday, June 13, 2012 – SF 10, HOU 0
Let’s start with the basics. Naturally, there were 27 up and 27 down. So like nine of us. Nine 3 up, 3 downs. No hits, no walks, no runs, no base runners, no errors (errorless…also like us!).
Cain struck out 14, so two more than Hernandez, and used an extra 12 pitches (125 in total, 86 for strikes) to do so. That being said, he had a 10-0 lead. The score differential both works for and against Cain. It means he had to sit in the dugout thinking about the perfect game, getting cold, etc. for much longer between innings. It also means that the only pressure-packed part of that performance was finishing the perfect game.
He didn’t have to worry about securing a win with such a big cushion. And why was the cushion so large? Let’s just say the Astros aren’t as…um…”offensively proficient”…as the Rays are.
Also, factor in the fantastic running, diving catch Gregor Blanco made in the 8th inning to preserve the perfecto, or the ball that was hit about 550 feet in the later innings that hit a wall of wind in deep left and nestled into Melky Cabrera’s mitt on the warning track.
Both pitchers were brilliant in their respective, historic outings. Hernandez threw more first-pitch strikes and got more swings-and-misses. Cain induced more foul balls, meaning the hitters likely were just more terrible at squaring pitches up in general. But they were close.
That being said, the Cain perfecto featured two more strikeouts overall, and there wasn’t as consistent a flow to the game.
In King Felix’s perfecto, he struck out the side in the sixth and eighth and still had less K’s than Cain. Also, Hernandez didn’t have to hit for himself and waste energy getting ready to hit, swinging in the on-deck circle, or having at-bats.
So you be the judge. Keep personal emotions out of it, people. Mariners fans, contemplate everything. Giants fans, be impartial and look at just the numbers and quality of competition.
Which perfect game was better. Felix Hernandez? Or Matt Cain? (sorry Phil Humber – just didn’t make the cut this year, buddy)
Comment on the issue here below, and VOTE in the poll!
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– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Perfect Games. Suspensions. Bobby V. Injuries. Three Up, Three Down Fantasy. Sounds like everything you really want to hear!
We touch on all the bases and get to the bottom of those topics one by one. A few of the gang will be headed out to California for a baseball road trip as well, so if you’re around, be sure to let us know!
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That was the only word I could utter after watching Matt Cain finish off the Houston Astros last night in his perfect game for the San Francisco Giants. I’m a die-hard Dodgers fan who lives in the Bay Area, so two thoughts immediately crossed my mind, and one might surprise you:
1. WHY DIDN’T I GO TO THAT GAME?
2. Congratulations, Matt Cain!
The first is easily explainable. I live 30 minutes east of AT&T Park, but I don’t just empty the bank on random nights to go to a Giants game. And why in the world, out of every Giants game I could attend, would I pick one against the lowly Astros?
My second statement is the one that might surprise you – why is a Dodgers fan congratulating a rival pitcher on a historic feat, let alone on a night that saw his team lose one game of their division lead to said rivals? Because I’m a classy baseball fan! That’s what we do here at Three Up, Three Down, and you’d be hard pressed to find me ever dismiss a historic moment, no matter the jersey being worn.
And you know what else we do at Three Up, Three Down? We make lists. Because they are awesome. So without further adieu or desperate justification to save face with my Dodger fan buddies, let’s move on to the list du jour:
There have been 22 perfect games in Major League history, including two in 2012 (only the third year ever that two perfect games have been thrown in the same season – also done in 1880 and 2010), but few have been more dominant than Cain’s last night.
As if just tossing a game in which 27 batters come to the plate and make an immediate U-turn back to the dugout wasn’t enough, we have to split hairs and discover the best of the best. So here’s my list, in order of the most impressive perfect games ever hurled:
22. John “Monte” Ward, Providence Grays, 1880
Yes, it counts if it was before cars were invented. This is an early era of baseball that a lot of fans don’t appreciate, but pitchers consistently threw every inning of almost every game and the ones who did it well deserve respect, even 132 years later. Ward, 20 at the time, struck out two Buffalo Bisons (if anyone knows where I can get a Bisons jersey, please let me know ASAP @Jamblinman on Twitter…seriously!) players en route to being the youngest perfect pitcher in MLB history.
21. Dallas Braden, Oakland Athletics, 2010
How can you not love what Braden did on Mother’s Day in 2010, unless your name is Alex Rodriguez? Braden’s first career complete game was surely the crowning moment of what is slowly becoming a less and less relevant Major League resumé. He perfected the Tampa Bay Rays who were an MLB-best 22-8 coming into the game, and accentuated it with a huge fist pump coming off the mound.
20. Lee Richmond, Worcester Ruby Legs, 1880
Would you believe that a mere five days before Ward tossed his gem for Providence, Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs (why can’t we still have awesome team names like this??) got things rolling with the first recorded perfect game in baseball history? He K’d five batters in a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Blues.
19. Philip Humber, Chicago White Sox, 2012
Humber struck out nine batters, including Brendan Ryan for the final out, on what may or may not have been a check-swing ball four. We’ll let it slide and give Humber the benefit of the doubt. One thing I don’t doubt is that this was an incredible, albeit fluky performance from Humber, who accomplished this feat on just 96 pitches.
18. Dennis Martinez, Montreal Expos, 1991
To further prove my aforementioned classiness, I will forgive Martinez for making my Dodgers look foolish in this game. I’m sure he is breathing a sigh of relief. But Martinez was already having a fantastic season in ’91, and adding a perfect game against a team that was 15 games over .500 was the peak moment for him.
17. Tom Browning, Cincinnati Reds, 1988
Another pitcher who victimized my Dodgers nearly became the first pitcher to throw two perfect games when he retired 24 in a row against the Phillies one year later. Alas, the poor guy had to settle for just one perfect game, and it was a doozy. On 100 pitches, Browning struck out seven batters on the first-place Dodgers.
16. Kenny Rogers, Texas Rangers, 1994
The pitcher, not the singer. And if you had them confused, please kindly exit this blog right now, close your laptop, undress, and apply 20 lashes to your own back. Trust me, it’s better than what @RangerfanBrian would do to you for disrespecting Kenny like that. Rogers threw a gem against the California Angels here, ringing up 8 batters on 98 pitches along the way.
15. Charlie Robertson, Chicago White Sox, 1922
Robertson’s perfecto is pretty mind-boggling for a few reasons. First, it was only his fourth career start and fifth game in the big leagues. Second, he perfected a Detroit Tigers lineup that was boasting a mind-boggling team on-base percentage of .373 at the time. And finally, he only had 49 career wins! But he can count this one as his most memorable, I’m sure.
14. Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox, 2009
I still can’t decide what was more impressive – Buehrle’s perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays (who were also perfected by Braden in 2010), or this ridiculous play on Opening Day of 2010. Just kidding, the perfecto is obviously better, but still. Pure athleticism. Buehrle, one of baseball’s good guys, struck out six batters in this game.
13. Mike Witt, California Angels, 1984
Witt’s perfect game came on an efficient 94 pitches against the Texas Rangers. The Angels and Rangers are the only teams to throw perfect games against each other in MLB history. Among those 94 pitches, Witt was able to snag 10 strikeouts. He was also the losing pitcher in Rogers’ 1994 perfect game, and is the only pitcher ever to start and finish a no-hitter (he was the closer for a no-hitter in 1990, started by teammate Mark Langston).
12. Addie Joss, Cleveland Naps, 1908
Joss only struck out three batters in his perfect game against the Chicago White Sox. But the most mesmerizing statistic in the box score is his pitch count. An unbelievable total of 74 pitches were used over the nine innings, averaging less than three per batter. Joss later threw another no-no against the White Sox, becoming the only Major Leaguer to ever no-hit the same team twice.
The guy that certain award is named after holds the career wins record with 511, a mark likely to never be approached for the rest of time. But only once was Cy perfect. He beat the Philadelphia A’s 3-0, recording eight K’s along the way, and contributing to a scoreless innings streak that eventually reached 45 total.
10. David Wells, New York Yankees, 1998
Many questions swirl around this perfect game, and none have to do with close calls or potential ball-doctoring. But after Wells perfected the Minnesota Twins, striking out 11 batters on 120 pitches, he told the media he was “half-drunk” on the mound that day, from partying too hard the night before. Fun fact: Wells attended the same high school in San Diego as Don Larsen, who will be making an appearance later on this list.
9. David Cone, New York Yankees, 1999
Only 14 months after his teammate was perfect, Cone doubled the Yankees’ pleasure, tossing a gem against the Montreal Expos. In the 6-0 win, no Expos batter reached a three-ball count, and Cone struck out 10 batters on just 88 pitches. Before the game, Don Larsen threw out the first pitch to Yogi Berra. Cone’s catcher was current Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
8. Len Barker, Cleveland Indians, 1981
Just like Cone, Barker never reached a three-ball count on anyone in this game, a 3-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the first time a team in the designated hitter era was perfected, so Barker had one extra real hitter to deal with. Something I was very impressed with upon my research, was that all 11 of Barker’s strikeouts were swinging.
7. Jim Bunning, Philadelphia Phillies, 1964
Bunning struck out 10 batters on just 90 pitches in this 6-0 win over the Mets at Shea Stadium. His was the first National League perfect game in 84 years, since Ward’s in 1880. He pitched it on Father’s Day, which is just a cool nugget, but the real story is that he completely bucked the voodoo tradition of not talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter. He kept talking to his teammates to keep them loose and relaxed along the way.
6. Catfish Hunter, Oakland A’s, 1968
The future Hall of Famer went 3-for-4 at the dish in this game with 3 RBI in a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Oh, and he also just happened to allow no runs, no hits, no walks and faced the minimum 27 batters. What’s that you say? A perfect game! Just after the A’s moved to Oakland, too. What a welcome to California for Hunter and the A’s fan base.
5. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies, 2010
Just 20 days after Braden’s unlikely perfecto, Doc Halladay surprised nobody and finally threw his first career perfect game. We all know he’s the mastermind of a playoff no-hitter the same year, but this 1-0, 11 K gem against the Florida Marlins was still his best overall performance of the season. Halladay was the obvious choice for 2010 N.L. Cy Young.
4. Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2004
It was always a “when,” not an “if” The Big Unit would toss a perfect game as soon as his flowing, golden mullet cracked the scene in Montreal. Nobody could have guessed it would take him until age 40 to get there, becoming by far the oldest pitcher to ever throw a perfecto. The Braves, who he beat 2-0, had a very solid .593 winning percentage at the time, too. His 13 strikeouts are second most ever in a perfect game, behind the next two on my list. Must know: Randy was born in Walnut Creek, CA; the same hometown as yours truly!
3. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants, 2012
I promise you this is not a case of “it just happened, it must be the greatest.” Comparing his to the rest of the perfect games on this list, there is no way he and his 14 strikeouts are out of the top three. Cain tossed the first perfect game in the Giants’ extensive franchise history, and was of course helped by this unbelievable catch by Gregor Blanco in the 7th inning. Fun fact that you probably already know: Ted Barrett, the home plate umpire, was also behind the dish for Cone’s perfecto in ’99.
2. Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1965
Koufax’s perfect game almost didn’t happen – the opposing pitcher, Bob Hendley of the Chicago Cubs only gave up one hit, but eventually his fine performance was forgotten by Koufax’s incredible start. Sandy struck out 14 batters, and recorded his fourth career no-hitter (one in each season from 1962-1965). Perhaps most impressive in this perfect game is that future Hall of Famer, and one of the best players of all time who didn’t win a ring, Ernie Banks, was held to 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
The Yankees absolutely terrorized the late 1940’s and all of the 1950’s, playing the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series seven times in a 10-season span, and winning six of them (1955 being the exception). Undoubtedly, the most amazing moment of any of those championships was when Larsen fanned seven Dodgers en route to winning Game 5 of the World Series. The intensity and stakes involved in the playoffs skyrocketed this one to number one on my list, and there was no hesitation. Larsen’s gem was, and still remains, the only perfect game in postseason history.
We’ve seen five no-hitters in 2012 now, of all shapes and sizes. There have been two perfect games, a no-hitter marred by controversy, a no-hitter for the ages from Jered Weaver, and one collaborated on by six different Seattle pitchers. But there is no doubt that Cain’s was the best of the bunch so far, and one of the greatest of all time.
This season has already been one of the most incredible, legendary seasons in any sport in any era. Here’s to hoping it continues to trend that way! I think it’s officially time to re-name 2012 the Year of the Pitcher.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
As the past few weeks have panned out in Major League Baseball with multi-HR games, a cycle, a perfect game, and a no-hitter, it got me thinking as to what people like to watch: Offensive Thrills? or Pitching Skills?
I looked up a few stats and made some comparisons based on rarity and difficulty.
No Hitter vs. Hitting for the Cycle
There have been 274 no-hitters in MLB history (including Perfect Games). Watching Jered Weaver go through the flimsy Minnesota Twins offense in just under 2.5 hours with 121 pitches was masterful to say the least. Obviously throwing a no-hitter is magical. The other team is forced to sit there and watch the pitcher mow down batter after batter with that big goose egg sitting on the scoreboard. Some days the pitcher just has “it” and there’s nothing you can do about it. Line drives are hit right at people and your deep fly balls always seem to run out of steam at the warning track.
On the flip side of the comparison, there have been 293 players to hit for the cycle, a mere 19 higher than the no-hitter total. People don’t seem to get quite as excited for this feat, yet it is almost just as rare as shutting down an entire team. Scott Hairston was the first to accomplish it this season on April 27. I might play devils advocate here, but I think that hitting for the cycle needs to be celebrated a lot more. Arguably the hardest part to get is the triple, and rightfully so, not many players have the speed to get that elusive extra base hit. There have been 147 triples hit this year by 108 players. That list is quite small and will continue to be small year after year. That means that while one of those players hits the elusive triple, they also have to compile the other three parts of the cycle. Not an easy feat and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Perfect Game vs. 4-HR in One Game
Philip Humber took on another lowly offense against the Seattle Mariners and set down 27 straight in 2:17 only using 96 pitches. Not a single Mariner got to set their foot on that pearly white square down the first base line. They hardly deserved to after Humber made them look silly through 9 innings of incredible pitching prowess. Humber had great defense behind him and showed the rest of the MLB how it’s done and got his name onto the elusive list with 20 other Perfect Games.
Ryan Braun’s onslaught at Petco Park last week with 3 Homeruns in that park made this argument come about. His deep triple to the right field fence as his fourth hit almost put him in an elite club of people that have hit 4 home runs in one game. There have only been 15 batters to ever accomplish this feat, most recently being Carlos Delgado in 2003. To argue these two points is more of an opinion matter. I think seeing a pitcher calmly set down 27 in a row is peaceful, while having a batter mash balls 4 times over 350 feet is quite aggressive and violent, however both are quite incredible.
I’m curious to see what you think about these offensive/defensive comparisons. Fill out the poll, comment below, and let me know why on Twitter (@FalconKP)